Speech by DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, at a DAP Public Rally held at Sitiawan on Saturday, 4th March 1972 at 8 p.m.
Call on Malaysian teachers and parents to express concern at the deteriorating standards of education in Malaysian schools
A matter of grave concern to parents and Malaysians is the falling standard and quality of education of our 1.7 million primary and secondary students in Malaysian schools.
Large numbers of Malaysian students are not being properly educated. In fact, many of them are being miseducated.
The high incidence of unemployment among Malaysians in the age group between 15 – 24 years, comprising about 80% of total unemployment, is a great indictment of the government’s education policy and system.
There are high percentage of drop-outs, and high percentage of school failures. The 1970 Standard V Assessment Test results for the State of Perak, illustrates this high percentage of school failures.
For national schools in Perak, 40.9% failed the Bahasa Inggeris Rendah paper, 49.7% failed the mathematics paper, 43.6% failed the science paper and 30.5% failed the Bahasa Melayu paper.
For national-type (English) primary schools in Perak, 56.3% failed the Bahasa Kebangsaan paper, 49.9% failed the Bahasa Inggeris paper, 46.7% failed the mathematics paper and 48% failed the science paper.
For national-type (Chinese) primary schools, 62% failed the Bahasa Kebangsaan paper, 43.3% failed the Bahasa China paper, 55.8% failed the Bahasa Inggeris rendah paper, 45.5% failed the mathematics paper and 45.5% failed the science paper.
These are indeed shocking results. Yet these failures will progress upwards to the next form, only to be bigger failures.
It is no wonder that Alliance Ministers and leaders are sending their children abroad for their education.
Teachers and parents are aware of the shocking standard of education in Malaysian schools, and are very worried about the future of their children. But being worried alone does not change or improve matters. They should band together, and express their concern for the deteriorating quality and standard of education in Malaysian schools, and demand for a Royal Commission of Inquiry to make a comprehensive inquiry into the causes for the shockingly low standards of education in Malaysian schools, the drop-out problem, the economic and environmental disadvantages of the children from poor families, etc.
It is clear that the present education system must be reviewed and even overhauled. For instance, there is no use in continuing to promote a student to upper classes through the automatic promotion system when he could not understand the things he was taught in lower classes. There is also no purpose in educating students who are not fitted for the requirements of society, ending up in a larger army of unemployed.
This is a serious matter, affecting the new generation of Malaysians. Let Malaysian parents and teachers come forward to demand the raising of educational standards in Malaysian schools.